New Year's Resolutions are best known for the speed with which they are forgotten. Yet, total health is a lifelong journey — you need to work on your health every day. We recently spoke with an ayurvedic expert from The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians on ways to enrich the new year with ayurvedic wisdom — simple things you can do every day to stay healthy and happy.
- Nourish Your Body with Intelligent Foods
Q: Most people think of losing weight when they think of New Year's resolutions. Yet it's also important to nourish your body, especially during the cold winter months. What do you recommend?
A: Sometimes it's better to think of what you CAN eat to feel healthy rather than what you can't. Start the day with a stewed apple, for instance, and it will boost your health in a number of ways. First of all, it's an ideal ayurvedic breakfast because it is light, warm and nourishing. According to Maharishi Ayurveda, it's better to start your day with a light meal. Even in English the meaning of "breakfast" is to "break a fast." It's better to break the fast of the night slowly. Your digestive system needs warm, nourishing foods in the morning to stimulate it, but not too much. The digestive fire is just waking up, and will be at full capacity when the sun is high in the sky, at noon. That's when to eat heavier proteins and larger amounts of food.
A stewed apple also helps your elimination system, because it is easy to digest and contains lots of fiber. It also contains vitamins, trace minerals, and antioxidant flavonoids. All of this is good for weight loss, actually, because anything that is light on your digestion and adds nutrients rather than empty calories helps the body burn fat.
If you feel too hungry late in the morning, try adding a cooked whole grain cereal such as farina (cream of wheat), oatmeal, or quinoa flakes to your breakfast. These can be cooked with raisins, figs or prunes, and seasoned with a little cinnamon and sweetened with honey once it cools.
For the noon meal, eat naturally "intelligent" foods, such as cooked vegetables; whole grains such as quinoa, rye, millet or amaranth; healthy proteins such as lentils, split mung dhal or panir; and lassi. Make this meal your largest, because your body can handle more at this time of day.
For the evening meal, eat a smaller meal than at noon. The digestive fire is burning lower, and also you don't want to overload the body right before sleep. Soups, dhals, whole grains and vegetables are good choices for the evening meal.
Season your food with spices, as these are extremely helpful to digestion. For Vata season or Vata imbalances, favor cardamom, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, salt, cloves, mustard seed and small quantities of black pepper. For Pitta season and Pitta imbalances, favor cinnamon, coriander, cardamom and fennel. Eat less ginger, cumin, black pepper, fenugreek, clove, celery seed, salt and mustard seed, and especially avoid chili peppers and cayenne. For Kapha season or imbalances, all spices are helpful, especially fresh ginger. Avoid salt, as this increases Kapha. Vata, Pitta and Kapha Churnas make the selection of spices easy.
Q: There are so many vegetables and fruits and grains to choose from. How do you know which ones are the healthiest?
A: The choice of food depends on your body type, the season and your imbalances. Food recommendations may change with every season and as your body changes, which is why it's best to consult an expert trained in Maharishi Ayurveda before each season begins. That way you can adjust your diet and behavioral routines to balance the seasonal influences, and also to eliminate any new imbalances.
You can get an idea of which fruits, vegetables, grains and spices to eat for your body type by going to the dietary guidelines pages for Vata, Pitta or Kapha . The Maharishi Ayurveda Churnas, or spice mixtures, for each body type are an excellent way to season the food for each dosha.
Q: Are there any foods you shouldn't eat?
A: Certain foods should not be combined. In Maharishi Ayurveda, these are called "mutually contradictory foods." Even though these foods may be perfectly healthy on their own, when they are eaten together they create ama (impurities in the body) because the combination makes them difficult to digest.
Avoid combining these foods:
- Ghee and honey in equal proportions
- Milk with salty, sour, astringent, pungent or bitter tastes (in other words, milk combines well only with sweet foods such as cereals, cookies and small amounts of honey or raw sugar)
- Yogurt with milk, sour fruits, melons, fish, starches, cheese, or bananas
- Melons with any other foods, but especially grains, starches, grilled foods or cheese
- Corn with dates, raisins or bananas
- The nightshade family (which consists of tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant and sweet peppers) with yogurt, milk, melons or cucumbers.
Q: What cooking methods do you recommend?
A: There is a concept in ayurveda, called swaduhita, which means "tasty and healthy." The idea is that food should be tasty, yes, but not at the expense of being healthy. Today much of the food prepared with modern methods is swaduahita — tasty, but not very healthy.
For example, what you eat in Indian restaurants is not necessarily ayurvedic. It's important to distinguish between the two. The goal of Maharishi Ayurveda is to make the foods tasty without disturbing the intelligence of the grains and vegetables. Many Indian restaurants, on the other hand, include a lot of deep-fried foods. These are not ayurvedic, because the food is heated at such high temperatures that it is burned, and cannot be digested. Deep-fried foods generally create ama, and therefore are not part of ayurvedic cooking.
Research is beginning to show the dangers of high-temperature cooking. A new study conducted at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York shows that frying, grilling and microwaving create toxic compounds that are associated with serious illness such as heart disease and diabetes. These toxic compounds, called AGEs, form when sugars, proteins and fats amalgamate in high-temperature cooking. Microwaved food is perhaps the most harmful. As reported in Lancet (Dec. 9, 1989) microwaving baby formulas converts certain trans-amino acids into their synthetic isomers, which are toxic to the nervous system. Additional research published in 1992 by the Swiss researcher Dr. Hans Ulrich Hertel showed that food subjected to microwave cooking resulted in a high level of carcinogens and low nutrient value.
Q: That's very interesting, that these high-temperature cooking methods are now being shown to cause disease. Can you give some examples of how the same food could be prepared ayurvedically?
A: The ideal ayurvedic method is to cook food slowly at low temperatures. The recommended ayurvedic cooking medium is water. For instance, when you make split-mung dhal, you first fill the pan with water and add the dhal, turmeric and salt. Then separately you sauté the other spices in a small amount of ghee until the aroma is released, and add that to the dhal when it is almost cooked. The ghee and spices are a very important component, because they enhance taste and infuse aromatherapeutic value. When you sauté spices in ghee or olive oil at a low heat until the aroma is released, that is called sanskar in ayurveda — it's the traditional method of preparation that enhances the therapeutic value of the foods being prepared.
The purpose of ayurvedic cooking is to combine the intelligence of the spices, the intelligence of vegetables and the intelligence of the fat — all the different enzymes and energetics — in a way that is not confusing for your body's intelligence to break down and incorporate. Ayurvedic cooking methods are easy on the digestive system.
You can prepare ayurvedic vegetables in two ways. One way is to steam the vegetables first using water, and then add spices sautéed in ghee or olive oil. A second way is to sauté the spices in ghee or olive oil, and then add the vegetables, diced small, and sauté for a few minutes. Cover and cook at low temperature. If you are making a curry (vegetables with sauce), add a small amount of water to finish cooking the vegetables.
Every vegetable has its own ideal temperature. For instance, it's best to cook squashes very slowly using water. The ayurvedic method is a precise method, a blend of art and a science. A new therapeutic recipe book from Maharishi Ayurveda Products, expected to be released late in the spring, explains these methods and materials. (Please note that pressure cooking is a healthy ayurvedic method, because it involves water and low temperatures.)
Q: Are there any specific food supplements that especially help nourish the body?
A: Yes. This is the specialty of Maharishi Ayurveda — to aid digestion — and every herbal supplement, even if targeted for different areas of the body, also helps at the fundamental level of digestion. However, there are specific formulas, such as Herbal Di-Gest and Premium Amla Berry, that aid the absorption of food, so whatever you eat is assimilated. Mango chutney and ginger preserve also help digestion, and are a delicious condiment to add to your meal. Calcium Support is an excellent food supplement to aid absorption of calcium and iron, two minerals that are essential for health. Almond butter is a delicious way to boost your energy.
- Get in Sync with Nature
Q: Why is a daily routine important for health?
A: Nature follows a routine. The sun rises and the sun sets every day as the earth rotates on its axis. The seasons progress as the earth revolves around the sun. The moon also has its set cycles. Each hour, each day, each season unfolds in a rhythmic progression. And each hour, day, and season has its own laws of nature. If you eat, sleep and behave in a manner that resonates with those subtle laws of nature, your body will feel healthier. After all, the human body is a microcosm of all the cosmic forces in nature, so the more you behave in a way that attunes your body to those forces of nature, the more healthy and natural you will feel.
The different laws of nature for the different times of day can be described in terms of Vata, Pitta and Kapha. The early morning, from 2:00 to 6:00 is the Vata time, so that's why it's best to rise sometime before it is over to infuse your mind and body with that light, energetic quality of Vata. Next (from 6:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.) comes the more slow and steady Kapha time, when it's ideal to finish meditating, exercise, eat a light breakfast and start work or school. From 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., the sun is high and Pitta qualities predominate. It reaches its zenith at noon, and at that time your digestion can handle a large meal.
Then the whole cycle of Vata, Pitta and Kapha repeats itself again. The Kapha time in the evening (6:00-10:00) is a good time to slow down, rest and go to bed, because its slow, heavier qualities are conducive to a good night's sleep. By the Pitta time of night (10:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.), it's important to already be asleep, as this is when the body's digestive system and other systems need to rest and purify themselves.
Q: And what about the seasonal routine?
A: The seasons also reflect the qualities of Vata (fall and winter), Kapha (spring) and Pitta (summer). It's important to consult an ayurvedic expert at the junction between the seasons. The reason is that the expert will take your pulse and see what imbalances have accumulated from the past season. The doshas tend to build up as each season progresses. For instance, by the end of the summer Pitta season, most people have built up quite a lot of heat, which can lead to Pitta disorders. The idea is to consult an expert at the end of each season, who will help you dissolve those imbalances before the new season begins, before they combine with new imbalances and create a path to disease.
You can also prevent these seasonal imbalances by favoring a Pitta-pacifying diet and behaviors in the hot Pitta season, Vata-pacifying in the cold and dry winter, and Kapha-pacifying in the wet and cool spring. The Vata, Pitta and Kapha herbal Teas and Churnas from Maharishi Ayurveda are ideal for maintaining balance in each season.
- Exercise Every Day
Q: Why is exercising every day emphasized in ayurveda? Wouldn't taking a rest every other day be more effective?
A: The answer, again, lies in the daily routine. Your body craves routine. If you exercise at the same time every day, eat at the same time and sleep at the same time, your body will respond with better digestion, better sleep and overall better immunity.
Also, the ayurvedic concept is that you shouldn't need to rest a day after exercise. The idea is to follow the principle of balaardh, to maintain balanced energy and stamina at all times. Bala means "energy" and ardh means "half" — the ayurvedic recommendation is to never exert more than 50% of your capacity. This amount will differ from person to person, depending on your body type, your age and your overall health.
The way to tell if you are starting to exceed your capacity is if sweat starts to form on your nose, forehead or under the arms. Another sign is if you can no longer breathe through the nose. Breathing through the nose is recommended for ayurvedic exercise. If you start to need to gulp air through the mouth, it's time to slow down or stop.
If you follow this one guideline, you will always feel energized by exercise instead of exhausted. And each day, you will find that your capacity increases to exercise more intensely or for a longer duration. Very naturally you will be able to handle more exercise without ever straining.
Q: How does one know what kind of exercise to do?
A: Vedic exercise, such as yoga and Sun Salutes, are the most highly regarded forms of exercise in Maharishi Ayurveda, because they rejuvenate and purify the body at a subtle level. Walking is also an excellent form of exercise for almost anyone, and is gentle enough for Vata types. Swimming is ideal for Pitta types, and most Kapha types have a greater capacity for longer and more intense exercise.
Exercise at night is not recommended in ayurveda, because that's when your mind and body should be preparing for sleep. The Kapha time in the morning (between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.) is the ideal time, because your body has more stamina and also because exercising then can help create clarity of mind and greater focus and energy to enjoy the whole day. Be sure to consult your primary care physician before beginning any new exercise program.
- Sleep Deeper
Q: So many Americans are tired. What can people do to improve their quality of sleep this year?
A: Following an ayurvedic routine and eating the suitable foods for your body type are the most important things you can do to improve your quality of sleep. As mentioned earlier, the ayurvedic routine includes going to bed by 9:30 p.m., during the Kapha time of night, so your sleep takes on that deeply restful quality. Just this one recommendation is the most important thing you can do to help your sleep.
Q: What if you're in bed before 10:00 p.m. but you just can't fall asleep?
A: Additional things you can do are a partial abhyanga before going to bed, on your lower limbs, hands and feet, using the non-staining Youthful Skin Massage Oils. Pay particular attention to the nail beds. A warm bath also relaxes the body and helps calm Vata dosha. Aggravated Vata (characterized by whirling thoughts) is usually the cause of not being able to fall asleep easily. If you don't have enough time, even a quick massage to the feet, head and hands can go a long way to releasing the stress from the day and easing the mind and body into sleep.
Avoid TV or working on the computer at night, as these make it difficult to fall asleep. Exercising during the Kapha time of the morning and doing your yoga asanas and Salutes to the Sun also help balance the mind and body so sleep comes naturally in the evening.
It also helps to surrender your body to the bed. Don't fight the bed. Lie down easily, lightly, in the rest pose. This means on your back, with your hands easily at your side, palms to the ceiling.
You may be plagued by worries when you lie down to sleep, by the things that are beyond your emotional, physical or financial capability to solve, which tend to bother you before bed. In this case it helps to make a separate mental file of each problem, and then hand the problems over to Nature to take care of while you rest. This includes worries about the global tensions, the fear of terrorism, or anything personal that is bothering you and keeping you from sleeping. By handing over the things that are beyond your capability to handle, you give your mind and body a sense of ease, a different kind of relaxation. Many people have had a good result from doing this.
Q: Are there any products that help with sleep?
A: Yes. Everyone can easily and inexpensively improve the quality of their sleep by using Slumber Time Aroma Oil. These essential oils of herbs help promote deep, restful sleep by balancing Vata and Pitta doshas.
If you still have trouble falling asleep, and your mind is racing when you put your head on the pillow, try Blissful Sleep. This is especially targeted to calm the sub-doshas of Vata that, when out of balance, prevent people from falling asleep easily. Take it an hour before bed and you'll find over time that the time it takes to fall asleep will be greatly reduced. The quality of sleep will also be much more restful, and you'll wake up feeling more refreshed. This is so essential for anyone with a Vata imbalance, as sleep is one of the main ways to balance Vata dosha.
Q: What about restless sleepers who wake up in the middle of the night and can't go back to sleep?
A: For people who wake up in the night between 2:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. feeling energetic and restless and unable to fall back sleep again, we've prepared a different formula, Deep Rest. This formula helps balance Pitta dosha, which is the cause of this type of sleep problem. Take the tablets an hour before bed to help prevent night awakening.
Other ways to help this problem is to drink a cup of warm milk (having boiled it first to enhance digestibility) with a teaspoon of Organic Rose Petal Spread. Organic Rose Petal Spread is a highly effective as well as delicious addition to the diet that can have a profound effect in balancing Pitta disorders and creating restful sleep. You can also drink warm milk blended with Organic Rose Petal Spread when you wake up in the night, as a soothing beverage, especially if you have forgotten to take it earlier. For people with Pitta disorders, it's important to eat enough for dinner. If you've eaten much earlier in the evening, the warm milk also helps sleep by preventing hunger.
Q: And what about those people who actually get enough sleep but wake up feeling exhausted?
A: This may be due to a Kapha disorder, and for this we recommend Deep Rest. This formula is specially designed to improve the quality of sleep so you wake up refreshed instead of tired. For this type of sleep imbalance, it is important that you wake up well before the sun, before 6:00 a.m. Then you will immediately feel the energetic, light quality of the early morning. If you sleep late, until after the sun is up and the Kapha time of morning has already begun, you will instead feel the lethargic, duller qualities of Kapha dosha. It's also important to eat an early, light dinner such as soup or kichari, because eating a heavy meal late in the evening will make your sleep duller and less restful.
- Let Go of Stress
Q: Stress is a big factor in most people's lives these days. What does Maharishi Ayurveda offer in this department?
A: The most effective way to eliminate stress is to practice the Transcendental Meditation® program. Research shows that it is the most effective stress-reduction technique available. Many studies show that the Transcendental Meditation technique, by releasing stress, brings balance to all areas of life — the physical body, the mind, the emotions, relationships, and even to societal problems such as crime or terrorism.
Q: What are some other ways to reduce stress?
A: Worry Free tablets and Worry Free Tea are especially helpful in balancing Prana Vata, the subdosha of Vata that is implicated in mental stress. This is especially effective for people who are prone to anxiety, an overactive mind, and other forms of mental stress.
Eating more walnuts, fresh coconut, milk and fresh milk products such as panir and lassi also helps reduce stress. In general, eating a balanced ayurvedic diet and following the ayurvedic routine is a formidable weapon against stress. The breathing exercise pranayama, practiced before Transcendental Meditation, can help calm the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the "fight or flight" response to stress. Throughout the day, when you think of it, you can also easily practice conscious breathing — just taking in deep breaths through the diaphragm to supply more oxygen to the brain cells and help calm the mind and heart.
If you are a Pitta type, skipping or delaying meals can cause anger, loss of focus, and frustration. Don't eat too light a dinner if you are a Pitta, as then you might wake up hungry in the middle of the night and be unable to fall asleep again.
- Flush Out Toxins
Q: What are the major forms of toxins and how can we get rid of them before they cause disease?
A: The most common type of toxin is called ama, which is sticky, foul-smelling and white and collects in the digestive tract. Ama can be caused by a weakness in the digestion; eating foods that are unsuitable for your body type or imbalances; eating the combinations of contraindicated foods mentioned earlier; eating leftovers, packaged, canned or frozen foods; eating on the run and other bad eating habits; and by an irregular daily routine.
If you do not correct the cause of ama, and it continues to accumulate, eventually it mixes with the nutrient fluid and travels to the other cells, organs and systems of the body to block the proper functioning of those areas. Eventually, if not corrected, simple ama can convert to a more reactive, dangerous toxin called amavisha, and this is the cause of many dangerous diseases.
Both ama and amavisha are created by the body itself, due to wrong foods and habits. There is a third type of toxin that comes from the environment, called garavisha. Garavisha includes toxins such as pesticides, preservatives, food additives, chemicals, and water and air pollution.
Q: What is the best way to deal with these toxins?
A: The most important thing to do is to prevent toxins from forming. Eating an ayurvedic diet suitable for your body type and following the ayurvedic daily and seasonal routine is the best way to prevent toxins from forming in the digestive tract and at the cellular level. You can also improve your elimination system (which carries toxins from the digestive tract out of the body through the bowel and urine) by eating prunes and figs in the morning with your stewed apple. Adding more vegetables that have been cooked in detoxifying spices to your diet also helps the body eliminate toxins.
Make sure that your bowel movements are regular (at least once a day in the morning). If your body is balanced from following the ayurvedic recommendations, it will be able to cleanse itself of most toxins using its own detoxification systems (such as through the sweat, urine and feces).
Q: And what if toxins have built up anyway?
A: Spring is the time of year that your body is naturally detoxifying, so it's ideal to support it by doing a spring detox program. For two months, take Elim-Tox (or if you are more Pitta-based, use Elim-Tox-O) to cleanse the liver (and, indeed, the whole body), flushing out toxins that may have accumulated there.
And because the toxins are carried from the body through the elimination system, it is absolutely essential to support the elimination system as well. For this we have included eliminative herbs in Elim-Tox and Elim-Tox-O, and we also recommend combining one of these with Herbal Cleanse or Organic Digest Tone. You can use whichever product works best for you.
- Power Up Your Immunity
Q: It seems like something everyone would like to do in the New Year is avoid getting a cold. What can Maharishi Ayurveda offer in the area of boosting natural immunity?
A: Basically, all of the recommendations we have already discussed help improve immunity. That is the goal of Maharishi Ayurveda: to create balance and immunity with every recommendation. That's why all of our herbal products help improve immunity as well as target specific concerns.
If you feel your immunity is low, or just to provide extra protection during the cold and flu season, you can use this special immune-boosting spice mixture to prepare your vegetables, grains or dhals.
Q: What products do you recommend for powering up immunity?
A: The herbs in Bio-Immune are especially formulated to strengthen the neuro-immune response, purify the liver and blood, and dissolve ama and amavisha. You can take it throughout the winter, or any time you feel vulnerable to cold and flu bugs.
Many people find that by taking Maharishi Amrit Kalash on a year-round basis, they don't fall prey to colds and flu any more. The formula is the cream of ayurvedic rasayanas, the special elixirs for health and longevity. It protects the body by strengthening immunity, removing toxins and producing more ojas, the substance in the body associated with immunity and bliss.
Other products that help boost immunity include Cold Weather Defense, which regulates fluid balance and mucus in the lungs and sinuses, removes toxins and shleshma (the toxic combination of ama and mucus) from the lungs, and cleanses the microcirculatory channels that have been blocked by ama. It boosts immunity and removes immune-weakening toxins. Sniffle Free is aimed more at the upper respiratory system, clearing the channels and clearing the sinuses of shleshma.
Q: What about mental and emotional causes of low immunity?
A: Stress has a lot to do with immunity as well. In fact, everything you think, say and do affects your health. Maharishi Ayurveda has recognized this connection between emotions, behavior and health for millennia, and has described a code of healthy behaviors called the Behavioral Rasayanas. The idea is that these behaviors create a positive effect on the mind and body, boosting your overall health and immunity like the powerful herbal rasayanas such as Maharishi Amrit Kalash.
In recent years, modern science has also come around to accepting this fact. It even has created a name for it: psychoneuroimmunology (PNI). Research shows that negative behaviors such as spite, anger or rough speech trigger the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland to bombard the body with neurochemicals. These negative chemical messengers disrupt the digestive system and the immune system. So you could say that negative behaviors (which usually are preceded by negative emotions) directly attack and undermine immunity. On the other hand, positive behaviors such as sweet speech and giving to others flood the body with neurochemicals that have a nourishing, supportive effect on the immune system.
Traditional Behavioral Rasayanas to Strengthen Immunity
- Freedom from anger
- Non-indulgence in alcohol
- Sweet speech
- Engaged in meditation
- Respectful toward teachers, parents and elders
- Loving and compassionate
- Balanced in sleep and wakefulness
- Using ghee regularly
- Knowing the measure of time and place with propriety
- Controlling the senses
- Keeping the company of elders and the wise
- Positive attitude
- Devoted to Vedic scriptures
- Beautify Your Hair and Skin
Q: What is the ayurvedic approach to looking good?
A: Beauty is based on good health. In Maharishi Ayurveda, beauty has three pillars: inner beauty, outer beauty and lasting, ageless beauty.
All of the recommendations already discussed help create inner beauty, the kind of vibrant good health that results in sparkling eyes, radiant skin and glossy hair. Inner beauty is also a reflection of happiness and other positive emotions; clarity of mind; and positive behaviors such as sweet, uplifting speech.
Lasting beauty, the kind that continues at any age, is also developed by these ayurvedic recommendations. Research has shown that by practicing the Transcendental Meditation program, by cleansing your body of aging toxins, and by following an ayurvedic lifestyle and diet, the aging process can actually be slowed down.
Q: That's really encouraging. What about outer beauty?
A: We have developed a number of natural skin and hair care products to enhance the beauty of the skin, the face and the hair. But the really beautiful thing about these products is that while improving the outer beauty of the skin and hair, they are also improving the inner and lasting beauty aspects as well.
The Youthful Skin Cream, for instance, penetrates to the seventh layer of the skin to cleanse and nourish that deepest layer, even though it is a cream that is applied from the outside.
Q: What if you have damaged your skin or hair through mistakes in diet or from harsh weather?
A: That's a good question. While using the hair products and the Youthful Skin Herbal Soap, Oil, and Cream, we also recommend taking supplements specifically for the skin and hair. Healthy Hair & Nails, for instance, fortifies and enhances the growth of hair and nails.
Calcium Support is an excellent supplement to improve damaged hair or nails. It enhances your body's ability to assimilate the calcium from foods you eat. If your skin or hair is lackluster, you might be missing some essential minerals.
Finally, there is an herbal food supplement to help your skin from the inside. Radiant Skin helps flush out toxins that can cause eruptions and irritation, leaving your skin clear and glowing.
Q: What about the rest of your skin?
A: Yes, it is also very important to take care of your entire body. The Youthful Skin Massage Oils for Men and Women are especially useful products because they are designed to penetrate to the deepest layers and are absorbed very quickly, leaving your skin feeling nourished and smooth but not oily. Sensitive plant, one of the main herbs in the women's formula, is especially good for calming and nourishing the skin.
- Drink to Your Health
Q: Many people say drinking water is good for your health. Would you agree?
A: Drinking lots of water throughout the day can help detoxify the body and prevent aging and dryness. But you can increase the impact many times by adding a few herbs to your water.
When I prescribe a personal water recipe to my patients, I find that it is extremely effective in leaching toxins and opening up the microchannels of the body, clearing them of debris and ama. This makes it possible for the herbal food supplements that they take, the foods that they eat, and even the oxygen that they breathe to reach the deeper levels of the cells and nourish from there. The herbal water recipes make a tremendously effective delivery system for the Maharishi Ayurveda products.
Q: What water recipe would you recommend for the New Year?
A: While it's best to consult an expert trained in Maharishi Ayurveda for your own personal water recipe designed for your specific imbalances, here are general recommendations for the three body types.
- Boost Your Relationship Health
Q: What about healthy relationships? Can Maharishi Ayurveda help in that important area of life as well?
A: Yes, certainly. The beauty of Maharishi Ayurveda is that it takes into account all areas of life. While you may think that your problems with relationships start with the other person, the fact remains that you can change only yourself. Most relationships go wrong when the people involved start blaming each other. If you stop and look within, you will surely find that blame doesn't always lie with the other person.
At the basis of all relationships is the human heart. The heart is the seat of Sadhaka Pitta, the sub-dosha of Pitta concerned with emotions. To use modern terminology, Sadhaka Agni is related to the neurohormones that are located in the brain and all over the body, including the heart. The neurohormones located in the heart send signals to the brain to register depression or happiness, depending on how the individual processes an experience.
For example, some people may have a high level of Sadhaka Pitta, because in them the agni, or fire that metabolizes Sadhaka Pitta, is burning very bright.
This person may be able to process emotions very quickly, which means that they can bounce back from an emotional setback in a short period of time. They are always feeling up.
This is an admirable quality, but let's say this person's wife has a low Sadhaka Agni. It takes her longer to process emotions, and if she has a setback, she's not so willing to try that experience again. She may even become a little sad or have a low mood when something negative happens to her. Now to her, her husband's constant up mood even in the face of adversity may seem a little bit too ebullient! And to him, she may seem a little low.
The reason this example is important to understand is that everyone needs to respect the special psychoemotional makeup of others. Rather than blame them for reacting differently than we do, it's better to develop understanding and tolerance, based on this knowledge of different mind-body types that Maharishi Ayurveda has given us.
Q: What can a person do to improve relationships?
A: By following all of the healthy recommendations I've already mentioned, you can go a long way toward improving your interactions with others. After all, if you are healthy and happy, your relationships with others will also be healthier and happier.
If you are feeling irritated with someone else, it's best to look to your own physiology rather than blame them. You might eat a juicy pear, for instance, to pacify Sadhaka Pitta, which can cause irritation or frustration if it's out of balance. Taking Organic Rose Petal Spread on a daily basis is a powerful way to pacify Sadhaka Pitta. Some people have told me that they felt angry with someone, and then remembered to take Organic Rose Petal Spread. And immediately they stopped thinking that this person was causing them trouble, but instead looked to themselves for a solution.
If you are feeling sad or are facing emotional adversity, Blissful Joy can help smooth out your moods. Blissful Joy is a completely natural yet powerful way to lift your spirits.
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